Thursday :: Apr 7, 2005

Paging the "Mainstream Media"

by eriposte

If I may ask for two minutes of your time (how arrogant of me to assume you actually read this blog!)....

....about the Martinez (Schiavo case) memo which showed the "leading" figures of the right-wing blogosphere and the right-wing media to be the lying hacks they are....

What Billmon says:

Which is why I have to disagree with Armando over at Daily Kos, who speculates that the Post's Mike Allen is probably laughing his ass off over the way this story turned out. I really doubt it. After the way CBS News tossed Mary Mapes and her team to the hyenas last fall, I think it's more likely that Mike is breathing a sigh of relief over having survived what could have been a near-career death experience.

Next time he -- and we -- might not be so lucky.

What Boehlert says:

Aside from their sloppy speculation, the episode also revealed the cloud of arrogance that hangs around bloggers from the CBS Memogate crowd. Indeed, this week right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin, busy peddling another false story -- which claims that Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographers who captured blood-curdling images from Iraq had ties to terrorists -- demanded to know why Pulitzer judges hadn't met with bloggers to discuss their conspiracy theory before handing out their prestigious prize. Right-wing site Little Green Footballs thundered: "The media establishment puts their thumb in the eye of the blogosphere, awarding a Pulitzer Prize for photography to the Associated Press's anonymous and very possibly staged photographs of terrorists committing murder on Baghdad's Haifa Street" (emphasis added).

The only proof provided for the charge was a link to another right-wing Web site that asked supposedly probing questions about the circumstances of the photographs -- questions that were about as insightful as the ones originally posed about the Schiavo memo last week.

Even when proven to be categorically wrong, reckless bloggers don't flinch. Examining the rubble Wednesday night, after the Post published its story about Sen. Martinez, Power Line concluded, "This story serves as an object lesson in how the mainstream media can take a dopey, one-page memo by an unknown staffer and use it to discredit the entire Republican party." Only someone who is shameless, and spends weeks accusing both reporters and Democratic elected officials of being liars, could turn around and announce that a manufactured episode had served as "an object lesson in how the mainstream media" tries to discredit Republicans.

Power Line was hardly alone in its denial. "If this [Martinez] story is true, ABC News, the Washington Post, and virtually every news outlet that ran the infamous story should now publish a retraction," concluded blogger Josh Claybourn. Retraction? His is the same Web site that on March 26 rushed to post an online "exclusive," which consisted of bogus allegations leveled by anonymous Republicans staffers that an aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was behind the Schiavo memo. Claybourn's "extensive investigations" into the memo were riddled with errors and false accusations, yet when the story blew up in his face he demanded that ABC and the Post issue retractions.

These "citizen journalists" obviously aren't interested in documenting facts. They're ideological bullies masquerading as media critics who want the press to stay away from stories (and images) that they deem unacceptable. And the sooner the mainstream press understands that, and stops anxiously amplifying bloggers' conspiracy of the week, the better off it will be.


According to Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit, which helped hype the story early on, the take-away from the episode was about the mainstream press and how it "will publish stuff without much in the way of authentication."

That's an art some bloggers have already perfected.

What Scher says [*link/formatting fixed]:

When conservative blogs criticize reporters and media outlets, their long-term goal is to permanently wreck your credibility.

So when you get real scoops, like the Schiavo memo, your reporting – your word – will not be considered good enough.

As the right-wing blog Powerline said last month, “what is the evidence that the memo is genuine?”

In their echo chamber, the fact that a professional journalist at one of the most respected newspapers in the country said it was authentic is not good enough to be evidence. Just the opposite.

And they want their world to be everyone’s world, where any attempt to uncover truth (so long as they’re in power) is deemed suspect.

(As you probably already know, being proven completely wrong hasn’t stopped some right-wing blogs from continuing to use this episode to malign your credibility.)

The goal of liberal media criticism is completely different.

At the risk of inappropriately speaking on the behalf of the liberal blogosphere, we don’t want to hobble you.

We want to help you.

We are customers begging for better product.

We want a media that reports, not regurgitates.

We are Paul Reveres desperately trying to warn you that you are under siege.

We want you to realize that caving into right-wing pressure is what will truly destroy your credibility, especially with the politically engaged customers you rely on most.

We want to know that you don’t need them. They don’t care about your well-being. We do.

With the Schiavo memo story, you did stick it to those who wish you ill. You should feel good about that.

But don’t lord it over bloggers in general. We're just as happy as you are. More please.

Need I say more?

Nah, not tonight.

eriposte :: 9:32 PM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!